The digital revolution continues to transform the way business is done worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has made entrepreneurs more resilient and creative in how they develop strategies for working in a world with less face-to-face contact. And has led to an entirely new crop of startups.
In 2022, several startups rose to the occasion and provided a way through various individual, community, and sector challenges in health, transport, and education among other things.
The startups on our list represent some of the most exciting and brilliant ideas across diverse verticals like tech, food services, logistics, and education.
XENO, an investment platform with a head office in Uganda assists millions of people across Africa in planning, saving, and investing for any financial goal with as little as $3 via the online, app, or USSD — with or without internet connectivity.
In June 2022, Xeno raised $2 million in seed funding, led by Beyond Capital Ventures.
XENO Corporation democratizes access to professional investment management through its proprietary goal-based investment platform that allows users to save with or without access to the internet.
XENO Corporation utilizes a goal-based investment approach to help users come up with a plan to save and invest current earnings to smartly accomplish a specific financial goal in the future. The innovative platform allows users to save with or without access to the internet, increasing financial access in traditionally underserved areas.
Beyond Capital Ventures is a women-led emerging markets impact venture capital firm, offering a diversified, dynamic, and de-risked portfolio. The firm invests in the next wave of innovations that address the growing needs of 1 billion+ consumer in India and East Africa.
SafeBoda is a community of entrepreneurs and boda boda drivers that is revolutionizing transportation, payments, and on-demand services in Africa’s cities at a click of a mobile phone button.
Last year, SafeBoda launched its car-hailing service as part of the company’s strategy to diversify its business to suit changing customer needs.
Dubbed ‘SafeCar’ the car-hailing service supplements the company’s popular boda boda services as well as cash services.
Safe Boda became the first company to benefit from the Africa Investment Fund by Tech Giant Google.
The fund is part of Google’s plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in “tech-led initiatives”, which includes a $50 million Africa Investment Fund targeted at early- and growth-stage startups on the continent.
This is a worthwhile milestone for SafeBoda as well as Ugandan startups, signaling a continuity to innovation in this new year.
The ride-hailing app was also awarded a silver medal at the Digital Impact Awards Africa under the FinTech Innovation Excellence for its offer of business loans in partnership with NUMIDA Tech.
3. Xente Tech
Xente Tech is a digital financial platform with in-built spend management to support businesses across Africa.
The platform automates payments and finance operations serving 500+ Ugandan businesses including companies like Jumia, UAP – Old Mutual, NSSF, TPO, and The Innovation Village, among others.
In September 2022, Xente became the first ever fintech in East & Central Africa to launch corporate Visa cards in partnership with Visa, a leading global payment provider.
With this feature, companies are able to issue virtual and physical Visa cards to their teams for both online & offline spending and track this expenditure in real time.
Among the many features on the platform is the Mobile money disbursements feature that helps simplify finance operations, getting work done simply – anywhere, everywhere, and anytime.
In 2022, Xente was awarded by Google as part of the 60 grantees representing 10 African countries of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, getting non-dilutive awards of between $50000 and $100 000 and up to $200 000 in Google Cloud credit.
The Ugandan-founded fintech company will soon launch in other African countries and is committed to transforming the way businesses operate in Africa through the revolutionary digital platform.
4. My Doctor
My Doctor offers a thread of telemedicine-centered healthcare packages including teleconsultations, medicine deliveries, and lab sample pickups from one’s doorstep as well as an appointment-first clinic.
My Doctor also recently onboarded several services to help streamline and create better access to healthcare in Africa.
By digitizing the initial care contact, the telemedicine provider says it would save both space and resources for everyone involved—patients as well as society at large.
My Doctor has built a platform that connects people to healthcare services through digital solutions. Under this arrangement, people are able to consult doctors, request lab tests, order from pharmacies, and get online diagnoses as well as prescriptions.
In the past three years, there was an aggressive growth in e-health services and startups like My Doctor contributed to the expansion of services online.
My Doctor was established in 2010 with the aim of providing a full digital health solution.
It does this by connecting patients directly to a team of healthcare professionals through its 24/7 doctor-on-call service, which leverages voice calls, chats, and video calls—all built into one platform!
Tugende is a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in the informal sector increase their economic trajectory using asset finance, technology, and a customer-centric model.
In 2022, Tugende, the innovative fintech platform for MSME credit and asset-financing in Uganda, closed in Q2 pre-Series B equity funding from existing shareholders led by Partech and two new investors, including Women’s World Banking.
The new investors add to the diversity of Tugende’s shareholding and complement the experience and skills that each contributes to Tugende’s growth. Along with a recent debt closing, the combined USD 10 million investment further strengthens Tugende’s balance sheet, allowing it to increase portfolio growth and address a significant credit demand amongst MSMEs, particularly after the strict lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Tugende continues to deliver this MSME support with award-winning positive social impact to its clients and their beneficiaries. On May 25th, 2022, Tugende received the Financial Inclusion award at the annual African Banker Awards ceremony, held in Accra, Ghana.
According to Tugende, the capital will help meet its continued intense customer demand in 2023 and support further technology-driven innovation to serve clients far beyond one asset being financed.
Mobile Scan Solutions Uganda Limited (M-SCAN) is a developer of low-cost mobile ultrasound devices that seek to reduce maternal mortality. They do this through early detection of risk factors and easy accessibility to affordable ultrasound services for use in low and middle-income families.
In 2021, the startup emerged winner of the $30,000 prize under the NINJA COVID-19 Response and Recovery Challenge by the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA).
It was also voted as the Innovation of the year at the e-Government Excellence awards for the past two years in the Innovation and Fintech sector category.
Numida is a digital platform that provides convenient unsecured loans that do not require paperwork or collateral security processed within 24 hours.
The people eligible for Numida loans are those who own a business; a National ID, Passport or Driving Permit, and mobile money numbers in their name.
To get started, one downloads the Numida APP fills in their business details, and uploads some photos. The Numida team will then make contact, follow up and disburse the loan through Mobile Money. Clients receive 30-day working capital loans ranging from UGX 200,000 to UGX 10M with flexibility matching the needs of the business within 48 hours.
Since 2017, Numida has lent out over USD 16 million to more than 25,000 SMEs.
KaCyber Technologies is a global transport ticketing company and BPO practitioner currently operating in Uganda and Senegal.
Since its incorporation in 2016, the flagship product has been an e-ticketing system for buses, trains, and ferries.
The solution incorporates mobile money services and an in-house wallet and processed over ten million tickets worth USD54 million, a milestone celebrated recently. The business model is earning a commission of about 1 percent per transaction and has earned about USD100, 000 cumulatively.
It is currently being used by the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) on the Kampala commuter train and local bus companies. Passengers use the mobile APP and website to book tickets online and pay using mobile money or the KaCyber wallet.
Founded in 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, Ensibuuko’s platform automates data and processes payments for SACCOs and savings groups and connects them to the wider ecosystem of financial service providers including telecoms, insurance, and banks.
It also has consumer products for saving, borrowing, and managing money on a mobile wallet even those without smartphones.
With three of Uganda’s leading banks and microfinance companies as well as two of the largest telecoms in Uganda, as its customers, Ensibuuko processes USD $1 million in transactions every month and is 80 percent lower than the cost of traditional banking software.
For Uganda whose, startups struggle to attract investment funding like their counterparts Nigeria and Kenya, Ensibuuko bagged $1m in Investment funding as well as a grant from the GSMA Innovation Fund.
Ensibuuko also emerged First Runner Up in the Airtel Supported UG Needs More of You campaign.
The funding placed the startups among the competitive ones on the continent and we look forward to whether the startup can drive its expansion plans.
10. Rocket Health
Rocket Health, a telemedicine and last-mile healthcare provider, is also expected to expand its operations across the country after securing funding worth $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Creadev, an investment fund backed by the Mulliez Family of French entrepreneurs.
Since its inception in 2012, Rocket Health has leveraged digital technologies to offer over 25,000 patients a safe end-to-end medical journey which includes phone consultations with medical doctors, mobile laboratory services, prescription deliveries, and in-person clinical care. Rocket Health was founded by Dr. Davis Musinguzi together with Dr. John Mark Bwanika, Dr. William Lugeba, and Dr. Hope Achiro. The four co-founders have successfully led the company to become the No. 1 Telemedicine provider in Uganda.
EzyAgric is an AgriTech and Financial Technology company that has digitized agricultural value chains.
Established in 2015, EzyAgric offers farmers periodic weather updates, veterinary information, and extension services and connects them to financial institutions for cheap credit.
To get started, a farmer downloads the EzyAgric mobile application, signs in, and gets a code that they use to access the system for free. One without a smartphone can either visit the website or use a USSD code.
As part of value addition, the platform also provides farm management skills where farmers are given digital record books to track their income and expenditure.
Since 2015, the platform has impacted roughly 300,000 farmers and facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars per season.
PayLater Uganda is a digital platform launched in 2021 to help Ugandans acquire the property of their dreams using a buy-now-pay-later model.
To get started, a customer visits the website, creates an account, and applies for a product of their choice. The customer is vetted through the Know-Your-Customer system and if they pass the credit rating process, they are contacted formally.
A contract is signed, the supplier is contacted and the customer pays the initial deposit. The value of the product is broken down into six equal installments within a 30% rating whereby if someone earns Shs 1m per month, they would qualify for a product where they can make monthly remittances of shs300,000 payable within six months only digitally through FlexiPay, Visa, MasterCard, and mobile money.
13. KUZIMBA Online
Kuzimba Services is a digital payment solution that allows clients to purchase building and construction materials and services. From purchasing land to surveying, drawing architectural plans, and construction, Kuzimba provides the one-stop shop.
The platform works with construction professionals and genuine service providers and guarantees delivery of the right quality and quantities to the client’s construction site.
To get started, a client visits their website, clicks on the item they wish to purchase, includes the quantity and type they want then a quotation is made. The team receives the notification and contacts the client for delivery details. The client makes a down payment of at least 50% electronically and the full payment on delivery.
14. Chipper Cash
Chipper Cash is a financial technology company that builds software to enable free and instant Peer-to-peer Cross-border payments in Africa and Europe; as well as solutions for businesses and merchants to process online and in-store payments.
Chipper Cash first debuted in 2017 at San Fransico. Ham Serunjogi, a Ugandan and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled, started a unicorn in the financial technology sector.
For the past two years, Chipper Cash has raised more than$3000m all in a Series C funding round. These funds are expected to help the startup increase its African footprint. In 2021, Chipper Cash acquired Zoona group, a leading fintech company in Zambia.
Valued at over $2.4 billion now, the startup is recognized as other unicorns such as Flutterwave.
15. MpaMpe Startup
MpaMpe is a digital hybrid crowd-funding application that seeks to bridge the gap between the needy or campaigners and funders or sponsors to support their ideas through a transparent model and accountability of funds.
Founded in 2021 by five Makerere University students: Maria Luzinda, Emmilly Immaculate Namuganga, Angella Bukirwa, Paul Jeremia Mugaya, and Ronnie Atuhaire, MpaMpe locally means “Give Me I Give Out,” and is expected to help tackle local community needs countrywide.
The app emerged second out of 12 teams that participated in the recently held second edition of the MTN MoMo Hackathon, with the developers rewarded with US$3,000 to facilitate the commercialization of the solution.
The system is currently web-based but plans are underway to incorporate a USSD option to widen participation with all the collected funds transferred to the beneficiary mobile money account.